Philie Group Blog

Three Key Areas for Your Chief Sales Officer
By Mike Philie

Do you have a chief sales officer (CSO) at your company? This could be the missing piece to your senior team. In many small to medium size businesses, this roll commonly falls onto the CEO or owner. As time is precious, this effort fights to get their attention. The person with the CSO responsibility sets the strategy to meet the company’s growth and revenue goals.


The business model for many printers today is unrecognizable compared to a decade ago. And in some cases, a year ago. So how should the CSO transform the sales effort to keep up?


Three key areas they should focus on include addressing the difference between actual selling and servicing an account, how to expand into new markets, and knowing what to abandon or unlearn because it is no longer relevant. I’ll highlight additional areas to focus on in future posts.


If you’re chasing the right type of account for your business, there will be plenty of opportunity to grow revenue from those relationships. That will be important. What is also important though, is the continual pursuit of new opportunities. Some customer accounts will grow faster than others and you’ll also be faced with attrition as business models can change over time.


The need for new business development has never been more important. A CSO should distinguish between the roles of growing additional business from existing accounts and from developing new accounts on purpose and with a plan.


Barriers to entering new markets or providing new services are not what they once were. You can develop  unique niches that can be leveraged to expand the territory in which you can sell to. The CSO has to identify those opportunities and incorporate them into the overall plan.


Leading with your strengths, what are you really good at? What do you think you do better than all of your competitors? What do your clients really value in working with you? What’s in your way of taking those deliverables and expanding your outreach to prospects in other geographic markets that would benefit from what you do? Print and print related services are no longer as regional as you might think. Just something for the CSO to think about as they work on the strategy.


While focusing on your past successes may make you feel good, don’t run the risk of being prepared for a world that once was, and not for how it is today or will be tomorrow. The CSO needs to be cognizant of how their customers want to interact and buy from the company in today’s environment. What does the client journey look like, and how is the sales team making it easier for customers to buy from your company? 


The CSO is charged with understanding the definition of an ideal customer and what account management really looks like. They need to be prepared to abandon any past practices that are no longer relevant.


The top performers have adapted new sales skills for today’s market place. They have upped their game. The CSO is responsible for identifying those new skills and making sure their team is equipped to win.


It can be difficult to juggle the many important responsibilities within a business. I get it. Guiding the business to continued revenue growth and sustainability won’t happen only by chance. Make this function an important part of your priorities so that your business will be positioned to reap the rewards of a changing marketplace 


Have a clear picture of where you want to go, and engage your team to make it happen. If you have any comments or thoughts as to how you’ve approached these issues, please send me a note or include them below.


Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at, LinkedIn or email at


This blog originally published in Printing Impressions.


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